Feb 13, 2013, 4:37 PM EST
In December of 2011, the NHL announced a “radical” realignment plan that split the league into four “conferences” as opposed to its current structure of two conferences with three divisions in each.
The NHLPA eventually scuttled the plan, citing concerns over travel as well as the fairness of the proposed playoff qualification system.
Now, realignment is back on the table (this time, the league and union are working out the details together), and according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the NHL is hoping to put everything to bed in two weeks or so (via Yahoo!’s Nick Cotsonika).
But Daly says this realignment plan will be slightly different than the last one, which featured the following four conferences:
—- New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina
—- Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay
—- Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg
—- Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado
Daly wouldn’t say what’s changed — there will still be four conferences, so we can only assume some teams have been shuffled around.
Did it make sense having the two Florida teams playing in the same division as Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo instead of being grouped with other southern teams like Carolina, Nashville and/or Dallas?
What about keeping Winnipeg out of a division with natural (and old Smythe Division) rivals Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver?
That’s for the league and players to decide.
Under the NHL’s plan, the top four teams in each conference would make the postseason. The first two rounds of the playoffs would be played within the conference (1 v 4, 2 v 3) with the four surviving teams advancing to the semi-finals.
Which is to say, postseason familiarity is going to create some serious rivalries, a la the once-great Battle of Alberta. So while travel distance should obviously be a factor in determining who goes where, other factors like history and the team’s country will likely be considered as well.
If all goes well, NHL owners should vote on new realignment plan week of Feb. 25th
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 13, 2013
Dec 18, 2014, 8:51 PM EST
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These two have a bit of a history.
Dec 18, 2014, 6:39 PM EST
He’ll be in the lineup when Pittsburgh takes on the Avs at home.
Dec 18, 2014, 6:33 PM EST
When Colorado takes on the Penguins at Consol.
Dec 18, 2014, 6:07 PM EST
Journeyman tough guy is back playing in North America.
Dec 18, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
So says Sharks coach Todd McLellan, who witnessed James Neal’s cannonball on Saturday.
Dec 18, 2014, 5:05 PM EST
The Kings have lost five of their last six.
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For a sixth-round pick.
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“This is our adversity,” says Paul Maurice.
Dec 18, 2014, 2:57 PM EST
The Minnesota Wild have to be frustrated.
Dec 18, 2014, 2:22 PM EST
News and notes from around the crease…
Dec 18, 2014, 2:16 PM EST
“Hopefully he can get in there and find his game.”
Dec 18, 2014, 1:42 PM EST
The Oilers’ farm team could be moving west in 2015-16.
Dec 18, 2014, 1:38 PM EST
Joins Jacob Trouba, Zach Bogosian and Tobias Enstrom on the shelf.
Dec 18, 2014, 12:58 PM EST
“Sometimes it’s one step forward and two steps back.”
Dec 18, 2014, 12:28 PM EST
With a hairline fracture in his ankle.
Dec 18, 2014, 12:13 PM EST
Along with builder Fran Rider, and former Swedish international Maria Rooth.
Dec 18, 2014, 11:59 AM EST
Former 20-goal scorer — and Stanley Cup winner — has been a bust in Nashville.
Dec 18, 2014, 11:51 AM EST
“It’s a pretty simple game I play, and if they’re not a fan of it, I’ve got to play somewhere else, I guess.”
Dec 18, 2014, 11:36 AM EST
Where he’ll play alongside Rangers forward Anthony Duclair.
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